Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
A Mammoth Hoax
Monday, January 18, 2010
"Extinct" Tortoise Found in Captivity
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Recovery
A paper on this rediscovered insect:
The recovery programme for the Lord Howe Island Phasmid (Dryococelus australis) following its rediscovery
Nicholas Carlile, David Priddel and Patrick Honan (2009)
Ecological Management and Restoration 10(s1): s124-s128
"Until its rediscovery on Balls Pyramid in February 2001, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid or Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) was thought to be extinct. It disappeared from Lord Howe Island soon after the accidental introduction of the Ship Rat (Rattus rattus) in 1918. In this paper, we report on the recovery actions undertaken for this critically endangered species since its rediscovery. Monitoring of the small surviving population on Balls Pyramid has shown it to fluctuate between about 9 and 35 adult individuals. As a safeguard against extinction, two adult pairs were removed from Balls Pyramid in February 2003 to establish captive populations in Melbourne and Sydney. Although all four founders bred readily in captivity, one pair died only a month after capture. The second female would have also died soon after capture had it not been for veterinary intervention using novel untested techniques. The single surviving pair bred successfully but the hatch rate of eggs was poor. For the next generation, both fecundity and hatch rates were low. The lack of knowledge regarding the specific husbandry requirements of this particular species undoubtedly contributed to these problems. Careful management, together with a cautious scientific approach, eventually led to all problems being resolved. Presently, there are more than 700 individuals and 14 000 eggs in captivity. Approximately 80% of incubated eggs are expected to hatch. To establish additional captive colonies, adults and eggs have been sent to other institutions, both within Australia and overseas. Now that the species is reasonably secure in captivity, the opportunity exists to reintroduce this iconic insect back onto Lord Howe Island, but this can occur only after the introduced rodents have been removed. A programme to eradicate both the Ship Rat and the House Mouse (Mus musculus) from Lord Howe Island is currently being developed."
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Sea Worm Rediscovery
Monday, September 28, 2009
Kevin Stewart passed along that Dr. Glen Chilton is currently writing a book, The Return of the Ferret Zombies, on the black-footed ferret (and maybe other rediscovered species?)
But, it also appears that Dr. Chilton has just published The Curse of the Labrador Duck, about his quest to find all the stuffed specimens of this extinct bird and visit locales formerly important to the species.
Monday, September 07, 2009
An announcement at a recent symposium on whales in the Indian Ocean apparently noted the rediscovery of a whale species. As I didn't see any further news on it, I queried Dr. Anderson, who replies: "The rediscovered whale should be described in a multiauthor paper, which will probably appear in Marine Mammal Science next year. Nothing more definite than that yet." So, something to look forward to.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Tasman booby, thought to be a now extinct species, has turned out to be a subspecies of the living masked booby. (News source.) [Abstract of paper here.]
Beck's petrel has been photographed in the Bismarck Archipelago, near Papua New Guinea. It hadn't been seen since 1929. (News source.)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Rediscovered Whale to be Announced
A rediscovered "new species" of whale will be announced at the Indian Ocean Cetacean Symposium, currently under way in the Maldives. It was first discovered in 1963 by a Sri Lankan scientist, but "mistakenly categorised as a similar species that had been discovered a decade earlier." (News source.)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Red Hairy Snail Hunt
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Possum Not So Extinct
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
Solenodon on Film
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Rediscovered Pygmy Tarsier
A Texas A&M anthropologist has rediscovered a pygmy tarsier in the wilds of Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi. "The pygmy tarsiers, furry Furby/gremlin-looking creatures about the size of a small mouse and weighing less than 2 ounces, have not been observed since they were last collected for a museum in 1921. Several scientists believed they were extinct until two Indonesian scientists trapping rats in the highlands of Sulawesi accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier in 2000.
Not specifically noted, it appears they mean Tarsius pumilus, according to the EDGE site. (Which notes, "Some researchers doubted the continued existence of Tarsius pumilus or in fact that it ever represented a separate species, as only two specimens were ever found and it had not been unambiguously identified in the wild since 1930.")
The anthropologists notes on NG: "There have been dozens of expeditions looking for them—all unsuccessful. I needed to go and try to see for myself if they were really there or if they were really extinct."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Caatinga Woodpecker Rediscovered
The Caatinga Woodpecker (Celeus obrieni) was rediscovered during a recent ornithological survey in the Tocantins region of Central Brazil. "One of Brazil’s long lost birds, known only from a single specimen collected in 1926, has been rediscovered after an absence of 80 years." (News source.)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Vietnam Turtle Controversy
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Zoo Finds Mythical Turtle
From the announcement:
"Cleveland Metroparks Zoo today announced the discovery of a critically endangered turtle in northern Vietnam that previously was thought to be extinct in the wild. Experts from the Zoo's Asian Turtle Program confirmed they have identified the only known living specimen of a Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in nature.
"After three years of searching, Zoo-sponsored researchers focused on a lake just west of Hanoi after residents reported spotting the gigantic turtle there. Field biologists, along with Education for Nature in Vietnam, found and photographed the turtle, allowing scientists to verify it was the rare Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle, which is considered a national treasure in Vietnam."
From the news:
"The discovery represents hope for the species, said Doug Hendrie, the Vietnam-based coordinator of the zoo program.
"Turtle expert Peter Pritchard, president of the Chelonian Research Institute, confirmed the find based on a photo Hendrie showed him.
"'It looked like pretty solid evidence. The animal has a pretty distinctive head,' Pritchard said.
"There have been rumors for years of a mythical creature living deep in the waters of a northern Vietnam lake. Some in a village west of Hanoi claimed to be blessed by catching a glimpse of it's concave shell as it crested above the surface of their lake.
"A national legend tells of a giant golden turtle that bestowed upon the Vietnamese people a magic sword and victory over Chinese invaders in the 16th century. Whether that sacred turtle has materialized in the 21st century will be a matter of cultural debate among the Vietnamese."
(And, yes, other bloggers' opinions notwithstanding, mythical is a perfectly proper word to use in the context of many mystery animals or animals with folkloric connotation. Further, the use of the term myth may be used in a derogatory manner in some popular usage, but in academic usage has no relevance to factual basis.)
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Harlequin Frog Rediscovered
From the Eurekalert:
"After 14 years without having been seen, several young scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP), have rediscovered the Carrikeri Harlequin Frog (Atelopus carrikeri) in a remote mountainous region in Colombia.
"The critically endangered Carrikeri Harelquin frog was recently rediscovered by the Project Atelopus team in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains in Colombia’s Magdalena department. Colombia is one of the world’s richest countries in amphibian diversity with more than 583 species. Unfortunately, in the past several years, there has been a decline in amphibian populations especially in higher elevations in Colombia."
Friday, March 07, 2008
Beck's Petrel Rediscovered
There hasn't been a confirmed sighting since the 1920s, but a British ornithological expedition to PNG has rediscovered Beck's petrel. (News source.)
"Mr Shirihai photographed more than 30 individual Beck's petrels on the voyage, Mr Askew said.
"He also observed young juveniles in flight, which indicated the birds were breeding nearby, and recovered a dead Beck's petrel from the sea - now only the third museum-held specimen." ...
"The Beck's petrel is a sea bird that may be nocturnal and is thought to breed in the Bismarck Archipelago, in an area of circular, mountainous islands."
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Giant La Palma Lizard Rediscovered
The thought-extinct giant lizard of La Palma, Gallotia auaritae, may still be around. A 300+ mm lizard was found by José Antonio Mateo, from the species recovery center on La Gomera. (These are in the Canary Islands.) A search is planned to hunt for more of the lizards. (News source.)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
More on South China Tiger
OK, not a lot more, but it looks like the Chinese have banned hunting in mountain area where the tiger was seen. Setting up a nature preserve is under consideration. (News source.)
As a point of interest to cryptozoology buffs, this is the subspecies of tiger which produced the Blue Tiger morph in China.
Researchers investigating the rivers in the Northern Territories, Australia, using a new method, electric currents to stun fish, have rediscovered a fish not seen for 14 years. The Lorentz's Grunter (Pingalla lorentzi) was found in two rivers. They hope to find new species as they continue. (News source.)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Chinese Tiger Rediscovered?
News reports say that a wild South China tiger, a subspecies that is supposed to be extinct in the wild, has been spotted.
"The tiger was snapped by a local farmer on October 3 near a cliff in Zhenping County, Shaanxi Province, and experts have confirmed that it was a young wild South China tiger, said the Shaanxi Forestry Department.
"Zhou Zhenglong, 52, a farmer of Wencai village who was once a hunter, took pictures of the tiger with a digital camera and on film on the afternoon of October 3, a department spokesman said.
"Experts confirmed the 40 digital pictures and 31 film photographs were genuine. One photograph showed the tiger lying in the grass looking straight ahead.
"Lu Xirong, head of a South China tiger research team in Shaanxi, said the photos proved that wild south China tigers still exist in China."
Monday, July 16, 2007
Researchers exploring the Cyclops Mountains in Papua were able to gather ethnodata from local peoples about the rare (and until then, considered extinct) Attenborough's echidna. The animal was seen as recently as 2005 by some locals. Nose poke holes were also found in the soil, offering further circumstantial evidence. (News source.)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
New Zealand Quail Still Living?
Mark Seabrook-Davison of Massey University is starting genetic analysis on quail found in New Zealand.
The birds found on Tiritiri Matangi Island are thought to potentially be surviving members of the New Zealand Quail, Coturnix novaezelandiae.
The New Zealand Quail was believed to be extinct in New Zealand by the late 1880’s, which means if these quail found on the Island are in act Coturnix novaezelandiae it would mark a rediscovery after over 100 years.
The potential still exists however that these are either introduced quail or hybrids of current species. The genetic testing will be needed for the final confirmation and then conservation controls as necessary.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
An interesting article on enigmatic earthworms notes the rediscoveries of several species. From IHT:
"Sam James, a research associate at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, has named 80 new worm species in the last 20 years.
"These discoveries do not garner the same level of attention that a new bird might - after all, a worm does little more than slither through the mud to attract a mate, and that just doesn't make for good television - but they are important nonetheless." ...
"On a trip to Brazil, James found Fimoscolex sporadochaetus, a fairly ordinary-looking pinkish-gray worm whose demise had been greatly exaggerated. In fact, it had simply gone underground in 1969 and hadn't resurfaced in the presence of an earthworm scientist since.
"'Our position on these extinctions is that they are more likely to be off the radar than off the planet,' James said. Buoyed by this realization, he hopes to go hunting for another elusive Brazilian worm, Rhinodrilus fafner, which measures an impressive 6 feet in length but is equally reluctant to slither up to a taxonomist.
"That's not all. A sighting in Washington state of the giant white Palouse earthworm Driloleirus americanus, which can stretch to 3 feet long and smells of lilies, sent shock waves through the earthworm community last year. If the Great White Worm was back after nearly 20 years in hiding, what else might still be out there?"
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Borneo Shark Found
One of the rarest sharks on Earth has been found again.
The Borneo shark, Carcharhinus borneensis, is listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, and is known from only 5 specimens since 1858. The last being in 1937.
A team of researchers from the University Malaysia Sabah identified the shark, along with a new crab and ray fish, during a survey of the Sabah and Sarawak area.
This shark is known to reach around 2 meters in length, give birth to live pups, and lives inshore. Its ecology and behaviors are virtually unknown due to its rarity, and it is known only from Borneo and a specimen near China.
Monday, March 19, 2007
UK Beetle Population Rediscovered
"The natural habitats of the short-necked oil beetle, Meloe brevicollis, have been affected by the spread of intensive agriculture since the Second World War. However, the site in Devon is on a steep slope down to the sea, so it has avoided the sort of agricultural intensification affecting neighbouring land.
"This has allowed the beetle to complete its complicated life-cycle, which involves a period of parasitism inside a bee's nest during the beetle's larval stage." ...
"Females lay up to 1,000 eggs in a burrow they dig in soft or sandy soil. When the young hatch in spring, they climb up vegetation and lie in wait on flowers for a passing mining bee to take the young beetle back to the bee's nest, where the beetle changes into a maggot-like larva that devours the bee's egg and stores of pollen."
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Rediscovered Bird: Large-Billed Reed Warbler
A bird last seen in India over 100 years ago was rediscovered in the Gulf of Thailand. From the Bangkok Post:
"A bird presumed to have been extinct for well over 100 years has been rediscovered in a pristine coastal wetland in Petchaburi, on the Gulf of Thailand. "The large-billed reed warbler (Acrocephalus orinus) had not been seen since 1867, when a single bird of the species was reported in the northwest of India, a prominent ornithologist said yesterday.
"Philip Round, a lecturer from Mahidol University's department of biology, said his team spotted and trapped the bird on March 27 last year at the royally-initiated Laem Phak Bia Environment Research and Development Project in Petchaburi province.
"It took about a year to confirm that the bird was the large-billed reed warbler.
'"'We collected two feathers from the bird for DNA tests and the result showed that it perfectly matched the DNA of the 139-year-old specimen kept at the British Museum,' said Mr Round.
"The large-billed reed warbler was found nesting in grass filter beds used for sewage treatment.
"The bird is small, brown and mostly unmarked. It weighs 9.5 grammes, and is 18 centimetres in length. The bird was released unharmed after the ornithological team finished the examination."
Round PD, Hansson B, Pearson DJ, Kennerley PR & Bensch S (2007) Lost and found: the enigmatic large-billed reed warbler Acrocephalus orinus rediscovered after 139 years. Journal of Avian Biology
Monday, February 26, 2007
Rare Cuckoo Recorded
A large bird from Sumatra, rediscovered only in the last decade, has finally been recorded on audio tape, which should help ornithologists survey the rare species. From Eurekalert:
"A team of biologists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have recorded for the first time the call of the extremely rare Sumatran ground cuckoo, found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.
"The bird was captured by a trapper and handed over to WCS biologists, who recorded the bird’s call while it nursed an injured foot. Once fully recovered, the bird will be released back into the wild.
"Known only by a handful of specimens collected over the past century, the Sumatran ground cuckoo is considered to be one of the world’s rarest, most secretive birds, and is restricted to Sumatra’s deep jungles and rainforests. In fact, ornithologists believed the bird was extinct until 1997, when a single individual was briefly seen. Last year a second bird was photographed by a remote camera trap. It is now believed to be critically endangered. Until now, however, no one knew the bird’s call – a key field diagnostic ornithologists use to identify birds that live in forest. According to WCS, having a recording of the bird’s call will also make it easier for biologists to locate other individuals, and to possibly evaluate the bird’s total population.
"'We were extremely lucky to have recorded the bird’s unique call,' said Firdaus Rahman, of WCS’s Indonesia Program. 'Our team will use the recording to hopefully locate other Sumatran ground cuckoos, and to eventually secure their protection.'
"The recoded call can best be described as a pair of sharp screams. It is unknown at this point whether the bird has additional vocalizations.
"Sumatran ground cuckoos are relatively large birds (half a meter long) with long tails. It has green plumage with a black crown and green bill, and striking blue facial markings."
Monday, February 12, 2007
A Madagascar Blindsnake Rediscovered after 100 Years
"The snake, which looks like a long, skinny pink worm, was only known from two other specimens, both discovered in 1905.
"'They're really rare because they're subterranean,' said blind-snake expert Van Wallach of Harvard University, who described the new specimen. 'You can't just go out anytime you want and collect these things. You can dig forever and never find them.'
"Scientists captured the snake, called Xenotyphlops mocquardi, alive in 2005 during an expedition to collect reptiles and amphibians in northern Madagascar. The specimen was approximately 10 inches long and about as thick as a pencil.
"There are about 15 species of blind snakes on the island, so the unique nature of the team's find wasn't apparent until the blind snake specimen was sent to museum experts for identification and possible comparison with dead specimens in their collections." ...
"The rediscovered blind snake is detailed in the Feb. issue of the journal Zootaxa."
[Full news archived at StrangeArk mailing list.]
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The genus Xenotyphlops consists of one known species. That of the enigmatic blind snake from Madagascar Xenotyphlops gradidieri.
First discovered by Francois Mocquard the blind snake was described in 1905 and given the designation Typhlops grandidieri . This description and classification was based on two specimens of the snake with an unclear range location.
For 100 years the snake had not been reported again. In 1996 the species was redescribed as the Xenotyphlops grandidieri in Redescription of a Rare Malagasy Blind Snake, Typhlops grandidieri Mocquard, with Placement in a New Genus (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) V. Wallach, Ivan Ineich Journal of Herpetology, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 1996), pp. 367-376
But still no rediscovery of the species or genus had happened.
But, this has now ended. The description and documentation of a collected 3rd specimen from the northern section of Madagascar has been done, this rediscovered snake has external and internal features sufficiently different to classify it as a distinct species itself.
The full article is printed in Zootaxa 1402:59-68 (2007) within the entry Rediscovery of the enigmatic blind snake genus Xenotyphlops in northern Madagascar, with description of a new species authored by V. Wallach, V. Mercurio and F. Andreone.